CHRISTMAS GINGERBREAD MAN SCIENCE EXPERIMENT FOR KIDS
CHRISTMAS SCIENCEChristmas STEM activities and science experiments are a passion over here because we love using the holidays to give our experiments fun themes. We have been enjoying growing crystals for the last year and find it great fun to think up a new crystals experiment for the holiday season. We have already made crystal candy cane ornaments and crystal snowflake ornaments which are both so pretty! Plus, crystal ornaments are very durable and can be hung on the tree. This season we have Christmas gingerbread man ornaments to add to our list of cool DIY Christmas ornaments for kids to make.
Crystal growing is an awesome STEM challenge for kids. It’s not quite playful science and there isn’t a whole lot of hands-on with this activity, but it does turns into an experiment you can keep for a while!
A crystal science activity is more of an observation experiment, to begin with, but you can definitely feel the crystals at the end. Kids are always amazed by the end result. Learn more about the science of growing crystals below.ALSO CHECK OUT: Christmas Science Ornaments To Make with Kids It may sound tricky to grow crystals, but it really isn’t at all. You will be hooked and may end up growing crystals all year round!
Check out those crystals!
CRYSTAL GINGERBREAD MAN ORNAMENTSThe prep for this Christmas gingerbread man ornaments activity is best with help from an adult since you are using very hot water and making a chemical solution. However, the set up is pretty quick.
YOU WILL NEED:
- Borax (found with laundry detergent)
- Jars or Vases (glass is preferred)
- Craft sticks or pencils
- String or Ribbon
- Pipe cleaners
HOW TO MAKE CRYSTAL GINGERBREAD MAN
STEP 1: Bend a pipe cleaner around a gingerbread man cookie cutter.
My first attempt at bending a gingerbread man shape from a pipe cleaner didn’t go so well. Cleverly, I figured out I could bend the pipe cleaner around one of our cookie cutters. An almost perfect gingerbread man shape to grow crystals on!
STEP 2: Use a ribbon to make an ornament loop for the gingerbread man and slide it onto your dowel or whatever will keep it centered in the jar of solution.
You don’t want the shape to touch the bottom of the jar or it will be difficult to remove once the crystals form.
STEP 3: MAKE A SUSPENSION SOLUTION
You want to dissolve 3 tablespoons of borax powder for each cup of boiling water. This will make a saturated solution which is a great chemistry concept.
Since you need to use boiling hot water, adult supervision and assistance is highly recommended.
Water is made up of particles called molecules. When you boil the water, the molecules move away from one another. When you freeze water, they move closer to one another. Boiling hot water allows for more borax powder to dissolve to create the desired saturated solution.
STEP 4: Place the gingerbread man shape into the mixture.
You can barely see it through the borax solution to begin but watch……
You made a very concentrated suspension solution. As the water cools, the particles that were once suspended in the water, begin to settle. At first, you can’t see through the solution but as the solution settle, you can see the crystals and the crystal gingerbread man too.You want to set the jars in a quiet place where they won’t be disturbed. No tugging on the string, stirring the solution, or moving the jar around! They need to sit still to work their magic. After a couple of hours, you may notice some changes. Later on that night, you will see more crystals growing! You want to leave the solution alone for at least 24 hours. STEP 5: The next day, gently lift out your crystal gingerbread man ornaments and let them dry on paper towels for an hour or so… Then time to hang up your crystal gingerbread man and enjoy the sparkling Christmas decorations. YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Dissolving Gingerbread Man Cookies
THE SCIENCE OF GROWING CRYSTALS
You read a little bit about saturated solutions and mixtures above when you made the borax solution. Within the liquid, there are still large particles that will settle slowly. Those particles land on the pipe cleaners and of course the bottom of the jar.
As the water cools, the water molecules return back to their normal state, and this is when the particles start to settle. If the cooling process is too quick or the jars are disturbed, you may end up with irregularly shaped crystals. This is because the impurities were not able to separate.
Make sure to grab a magnifying glass first and examine the crystals up close! They are so pretty and really do sparkle.
Add some science to your Christmas this season! You can make great ornaments for the tree even if you don’t have craft loving kids. This is one kid’s science experiment that you don’t want to miss!
MORE FUN CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES
- Christmas Slime Recipes
- Christmas STEM Activities
- Advent Calendar Ideas
- DIY Christmas Ornaments For Kids
- Christmas Math Activities
CHRISTMAS CRYSTAL GINGERBREAD MAN ORNAMENTS FOR KIDS
Click on the photos below for more awesome Christmas science experiments.
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How do you clean the crystals off the bottom of the jar when you’re finished?
Would it be possible to do this with a big tub and make 18 at once for my first grade class? What would be the best way to do that?
Yes you can! We have found that glass containers work better though. Just make sure to give each ornament adequate space in whatever you choose.
They should break up easily if you let the jar sit in the sink with hot water.
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